Drifter is brewed with all Summit hops, which must make the difference here. Their press release isn’t kidding when it says, "taste is unique to the category."
Appearance: Copper colored with a light beige head. Tinges of red to the body and it’s pretty clear.
Smell: Big citrus floral nose, with grapefruit and sticky resins all over, and an almost fresh hop character coming through.
Taste: Grapefruit, and big juicy hop character without being bitter—indeed, it’s light and smooth and amazingly drinkable. Almost creamy; that’s how smooth and not-bitter this is—but at the same time it’s full of subtle hop notes. Malt is light and perfectly balanced to let the hops really shine.
Mouthfeel: Light-feeling but definitely medium-bodied; it almost seems to get lighter in the mouth. Very smooth and clean and soft and juicy.
Overall: Wow, this is eye-openingly delicious. Super drinkable. This is far beyond what you expect a pale ale to be and I’m glad this is a year-round beer.
(Interestingly, as I’m looking the beer up on the review sites, RateBeer indicates that this is their W’07 Pale Ale, which I don’t remember trying when it was out.)